I hope to publish this novel early next year. It is more than half complete. Watch my web page for more information and thanks to all my readers who have inquired about the next Brandon story. Shadow’s backup is also introduced in this tale.
PROLOGUE FOR HARD JUSTICE (A new Jack Brandon thriller novel)
Jake was not bright, but he could shoot. His dad was a Vietnam war vet and a gun nut. When Jake was in his middle teens, his dad sent him to a shooting camp run by a former squad buddy who took special interest in Jake when he saw the raw talent the kid had. The first summer the instructor told Jake’s dad that his kid wasn’t even full grown yet, but he was a better shot than his dad ever was. Jake thought his dad would be angry but, instead, he gave Jake a rare hug and praise.
His dad was dead now. Jake liked to revisit the praises his dad gave him about his shooting skills. When he was honest, Jake would say he was very good at shots under 300 yards. After that his success dropped off sharply. But then, how many times had he had to make a kill beyond a couple of hundred yards. Not today. Exactly 125 yards. No wind. Good light. Doesn’t get any better. The police cruiser was in plain sight angled into the curb at a 7-Eleven just off Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh. Jake liked his hide. If you took the time to case your kill site, it was easy to find good targets and plenty of good shooting angles. He had found line-of-sight to the popular coffee stop place for cops from the top of a building further up the street. Two cruisers were pulled into the curb. The angle was better than he usually had. Picking the lock on the access door to the roof took less than a minute. No scratches left on the lock. His bogus fire inspector credentials were not needed.
Jake loved the rush of shooting from an ambush site. He was a God. He controlled the destinies of his targets. It was up to him. He could kill, select the severity of the wound or just scare them. The short term, five minutes after squeezing the trigger, was almost the same. Mass confusion, multiple responses, wailing sirens and scurrying pedestrians. Long term was different. Killing a cop was serious stuff. They would never forget and the search for the shooter was much more intense. Today, in the next minute, he would shoot to seriously wound two of the laughing cops leaning against a squad car.
Jake often wondered why the voice that called him on his cell paid him for shooting cops or firemen. The voice gave him a date, time and city. The rest was up to him. Never any complaints from the voice. His pay arrived in his P.O. Box on time. It was a good deal. He had never had so much money. Jake knew something this good couldn’t last. He hid the money in the log wall of his cabin near Big timber, Montana. When he needed the money there would be no time to mess with banks and leave a trail for the cops. They hadn’t I.D. Him yet. But the hunt was on for the City Sniper.
Jake glanced at his Timex watch. One more minute. The voice told him he did not have to be exact, just close. But he was a professional and one of the marks of a professional is being on time all the time. He was viewing the cops through an old 4X scope mounted on a vintage .22 bolt action Winchester rifle. If need be, he could leave the weapon behind. He bought it at a yard sale for cash. Cleaned up, sighted in and loaded with .22 long rifle hollow points, it was a lethal weapon within one hundred and fifty yards. Hollow points didn’t leave much for ballistics guys to find out.
Officer Sam Reilly was hit first as he was taking a sip of his heavily sugared coffee. The hollow point hit him in the left side of his jaw, blowing a large piece of his tongue and several teeth out of the exit wound. His partner pulled Sam to the ground but not before another hollow point hit him high on his right shoulder. Neither one remember hearing the shots. There was no panic on the street or in the coffee shop. By the time the first police and rescue vehicles, with their screaming sirens, arrived, Jake had cleaned up the shooting site, put the disassembled rifle in his tool box, picked the roof door lock closed and casually walked the short distance to his pickup truck. Another successful shooting and escape. He had planned to hit both cops but the one he hit first got in the way. His next act was a week later in Saint Paul, MN. He hated to leave the late spring weather in Pittsburgh for the uncertainty of the weather in Minnesota. It could be unbelievable cold waiting in a sniper hide. Only people who were strong and dumb could put up with only three weeks of warm weather. He wasn’t either.